Occupational health and safety in construction projects: a case study on chemical industry sector (Article)

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Olga Costa
João Matias


Background: This study was conducted to demonstrate the importance of occupational health and safety (OHS) management in construction project environments, taking into account the successful development of those projects. The associated problems in OHS management projects were also studied, as substantial empirical research has shown this is a complex theme with a large number of associated factors. Methods: In this study three projects developed in the Portuguese petrochemical industry were analysed using documentary analysis, on-going interaction with workers and direct observations of work activity. A systematic literature review was also carried out. Results: Strengths and weaknesses related to OHS management of the three analysed projects were identified. Grounded on the case studies results a proposal of OHS management in construction projects, in a recommendations format, is also presented. Conclusion: Good results from OHS management in projects can be obtained as long as it is focused on success factors such as: top management commitment; line responsibility; involvement of all employees and, mainly, of direct and indirect managers. Well-defined OHS responsibilities; a well sized and structured organization and the creation of an honest, healthy, motivating and useful OHS environment team with a competent and dynamic coordinator leader are also important success factors.


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